Eight countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — make up South Asia. Nearly 5.4 million South Asians live in the U.S., according to South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). Despite South Asians coming from a vast variety of backgrounds, cultures and lived experiences, they often face stereotypes and microaggressions that paint them as a monolith.
Here are six things you should never say to South Asian Americans.
“Aren’t you Indian?”
There are eight countries in South Asia, yet oftentimes, people assume all South Asians are from India. Cultures in these countries differ. For example, Pakistan is an Islamic republic, while most people in India identify with Hinduism. In Myanmar, most people practice Buddhism. South Asia is also one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world, with people speaking more than 650 languages today.